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All Strokes – Reading the Clock

Coaches will understand the importance of this week’s video, especially when working with younger swimmers.

Why do it:
Learning how to read the clock, knowing when to push off, and how to prepare for your interval before you get back to the wall, allows for a well organized practice. The less chaos during training, the more focus can be placed on swimming… rather than avoiding others.

How to do it:
We’re going to go through a few scenarios here… using both the standard sweep clock, and the digital clock.
1 – Leaving on the “top”, or “zero”. This means the first swimmer in the lane leaves when the clock reaches what would be the 60 second mark, or 12 o’clock, or when the digital clock gets to :00.
2 – Leave “5 seconds apart”. The 2nd swimmer in the lane will leave 5 seconds after the person in front of them… so the 5 – 10 – 15 – and so on.
3 – It’s standard practice to leave on the number that ends in either 5 or 0… but you’ll always see those swimmers who leave at some random time. This makes it more difficult to maintain a good distance behind the person in front, and more difficult to get your actual time of the swim. Stay organized.

During a set, while you’re swimming, you should not just be thinking about your stroke technique, but also, when you’re going to have to leave for your next swim. We’ll use the example that these swimmers have to leave on the :40.
1 – Sometimes you get a lot of rest, so you’ll have time to prep for the :40, or the send off, when you get in. This swimmer has about :10 seconds.
2 – When sets get more difficult, it’s best to KNOW you have to leave on the :40 before you come in, that way, you can grab a quick breath, and get ready for a good pushoff.
3 – REALLY tough sets, or “short rest” sets… well… it’s pretty much a “touch and go”. These may seem like an open turn, when you JUST get enough time to see the clock. There is no time to calculate when you have to leave… so you better know it before you touch the wall.

How to do it really well (the fine points):
This is a simple fine point… stay engaged and thinking during practice. Know when YOU are supposed to leave, and don’t depend on the person in front of you to know the intervals. The clock serves are your own personal tracker… to tell you when to start, how fast you went on the swim, and when to leave again. Treat the clock as if you’re the only one using it, and know your times.

Great swimming is more than going back and forth… it’s an organized, thoughtful, engaged approach to your training. Start young, and it’s easy.